First lady Jenny Sanford has endorsed Lexington state Rep. Nikki Haley in her five-way race for the 2010 Republican governor's nomination.
In a letter released to the public, Sanford praised the 37-year-old hospital executive and said Haley was the kind of leader she wanted for S.C. She noted Haley's push for more on-the-record voting, a stance that angered House leadership.
"She still didn't back down," Sanford wrote. "And she got results - we now have an unprecedented number of votes on the record.
"She's principled, conservative, tough and smart."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
Haley has been a legislative ally of Gov. Mark Sanford, and many assumed Haley would win his endorsement. But Haley has spent the weeks since Sanford's five-day June disappearance and later admission of an extramarital affair keeping her distance from the governor — including removing his photo from her campaign Web site.
The first lady's endorsement once again ties Haley's political future to a Sanford.
"Some folks are questioning if (Haley's) a credible candidate," said Danielle Vinson, a political scientist at Furman University, "but Jenny Sanford carries some weight.
"It sends a signal (to Sanford supporters) that you might not be wasting your vote."
To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.